General practice training for remote and rural areas

Recruitment and retention of healthcare workers, including doctors is a major challenge for remote and rural areas. The perceived lack of flexibility of training programmes and the centring of these programmes in urban areas as a result of modernising medical careers both led to a lack of availability of training posts and programmes in rural areas.

We look at how the North of Scotland tackles this.

What is the programme?

The North of Scotland reorganised its general practice (GP) specialty training programmes in 2012 to include the option of a tailored, innovative, and purposely designed rural-track programme that is centred around the rural general hospital systems. The programme aims to deliver not only the competencies required by the Royal College of General Practitioners' (RCGP) training curriculum but also the competencies to live and work in remote and rural areas.

Detailed information

Sustained improvement on recruitment

Redesign of the region's programmes to provide a rural track option with excellent educational support has resulted in increased recruitment to training posts in these areas since 2012 and expansion of the programme in 2014.

Rural training champions

Whilst the long term impact of this initiative on recruitment to, and retention in remote and rural practices is under evaluation, the recruitment of high quality, enthusiastic doctors in training has grown a cohort of rural training champions that augurs well for the future.

I want to learn more

For further information, contact Professor Ronald MacVicar at

Who is this page for?
This information may be useful for those considering how general practice training can be tailored for remote areas.
Why might this page help you?
This information provides learning opportunities for all remote areas.